This week, I was asked to come tape a show with various media and policy types — a fairly routine request.

Another piece of it that was fairly routine: On a show with six people appearing, I was the only woman. While I like to think I’m asked to appear anywhere because I’m smart and awesome and my insights are simply invaluable, the reality is I was pretty clearly there, at least in part, to fill a It Turns Out Ladies Also Have Opinions role.

I get nervous before I do any type of media. But there’s always an inevitable amount of added anxiety that comes with being what my friend Gene Demby recently described as “The Only One in the Room.

For me, those impostor syndrome tendencies creep in — that feeling that unlike the other bros who must know all the complexities of whatever issue we’re there to discuss, I know nothing and am certain to be revealed as a dummy at any moment.

There are also the social minefields one must navigate as The Only One: Do you bro it up and act agreeable so you don’t rock the boat, and are likely to be asked back next time? Or do you act on those little moments that prick your nerves, and speak up when someone says something that none of the others would ever think to call out?

It’s an awkward dance, every time. I don’t always — or even often — leave feeling like I got it right. In the end, this time, the dialogue was good, the other guests were respectful and I didn’t feel like I embarrassed myself. Still, I can’t help think it might’ve been a little easier if I hadn’t been The Only One.

What VOSD Learned This Week

The board of SANDAG, the regional planning agency (or San Diego’s U.N., if you wanna think of it that way), OK’d a $204 billion, 35-year plan to fund transit and construction projects.

One board member who was MIA for the vote: Mayor Kevin Faulconer. (The mayor said he supports the SANDAG plan, but others think it conflicts with his own ambitious climate plan for the city.) Environmental advocates say the plan would make the region wait too long for substantial public transit upgrades.

Meanwhile, another agency, the North County Transit District, is taking a proactive approach to getting housing built around its stations to encourage more people to ride transit.

And what’s all this got to do with the race for city attorney? One candidate thinks experience dealing with precisely these types of issues – land use, development, growth – is crucial for the gig.

♦ ♦ ♦

Before Esther Omogbehin left Lincoln High School last year, tension had been building between teachers and parents who objected to the principal’s leadership style. Basically, it wasn’t much of a surprise when Omogbehin left. What is surprising is what Mario Koran reported this week – that school board trustee Marne Foster played a supporting role in Omogbehin’s move. The former principal spoke to Koran about the events that led to her departure from the school.

Koran also covered another type of staff move that is more routine but still provokes controversy each year: the process of shuffling teachers around after school begins to accommodate enrollment numbers.

♦ ♦ ♦

 San Diego water officials want to know when they can tell residents to stop saving so much water.

 These are the big underlying issues courts must grapple with when it comes to deadly police shootings.

 Most people see graffiti and think crime; Linda Sheridan thinks artistic potential.

What I’m Reading

 Chicago officials believe four men convicted of murder might actually be innocent – but they won’t do anything about it. (Buzzfeed)

 Ruling certain police shootings as “suicide by cop” is fraught with problems, and might further undermine efforts to keep data on the number of police killings nationwide. (Guardian)

 This account of how ESPN’s attempt to create a “black Grantland” fell apart has some juicy behind-the-scenes drama, but more important are its devastating criticisms of ESPN as a whole, including this gem, which I’d like to shout from the rooftops: “The problem is that to be assiduously apolitical is to express a certain kind of politics.” (Deadspin)

 This description of the four conversations parents have with their kids is brilliant, and hysterical. (Slate)

• A yearlong investigation shows that even when you account for income, debt-collection lawsuits are initiated far more often in black communities than white ones. (ProPublica)

• Republican presidential candidate John Kasich mocked a young college student who showed up to hear him speak, saying, “I’m sorry, I don’t have any Taylor Swift tickets.” Here’s her account of what that felt like. (The Collegian, University of Richmond)

• I have big problems with some of the assertions made in this Nicki Minaj profile, which is why it’s so worth it to read to the end and see how Minaj shuts the reporter down and walks out of the interview. (If you can’t be bothered, take a shortcut and just watch the pickle video, which is one of my favorite things.) (New York Times Magazine)

Line of the Week

“This is the American mantra: I’m here, all development can stop.” – From a great Washington Post analysis shooting down the idea that cities are running out of room and can’t accommodate more population growth.

Sara Libby

Sara Libby was VOSD’s managing editor until 2021. She oversaw VOSD’s newsroom and content.

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